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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Best Book that's an Exhibition that's a book that's an exhibition....

Next up in the best book, pre-list categories is the best book that's an exhibition, or is it a book.

The first one is Eamonn Doyle's mad book, End. It's the last in his trilogy of Dublin street books and it's a kind of sketchbook for the show that wowed Arles this year and was made in collaboration with graphic designer Niall Sweeney and composer/sound artist David Donohoe.

It's something else, and like all of his work (except the backs - I love the backs) I can't decide how much substance it really has, but it's certainly an eye-catcher with it's mass of pull-outs, use of different materials and integration of graphics and cellophane into the mix.

But at Arles, Doyle went beyond eye-catching and proved he knows how to show the work, he knows how to use sound and music and walls and scale to bring the work up to a different level, how to affect people with his mixing of sound and space and image. And by doing that he gives it a whole bunch of substance. And because END was made in conjunction with the show, indeed was a kind of sketchbook of the show, that adds substance to the book. The one feeds forward and the other feedback and you're in a kind of feedback loop. Which is exactly what happens at the show (not that I was there mind).

A lot of Doyle's creativity comes directly from his career in music, a world where Doyle used to organise club nights where creative mixing were "what you do on a club night so we thought we'd give it a go in Arles" (I'm quoting from memory there). So in a very direct way, the show that made such an impression on Arles came from an intermingling of the bodily fluids of the worlds of music and photography. Above all else, it showed what a great curator Eamonn Doyle is.I'd love to see what he'd do with Robert Frank or Gary Winogrand - or both actually. So long may that intermingling continue, and long may there be more such interminglings. It makes us all culturally richer and stronger!

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